Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner held by USW in Bethlehem


May 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner held by USW in Bethlehem


BETHLEHEM, April 2nd- The United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union held their annual Ed O’Brien Legislative Dinner-Dance on March 29th at the Steelworkers Union Hall, Lehigh Street in Bethlehem.

Approximately 120 tickets were sold for the event, which began at 5:30 pm.

The event was attended by active and retired USW members, elected officials, political candidates, political party officials, and members of the labor community, including James Hartman, Business Manager of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 1174 in Allentown.

According to Jerry Green, President of Local 2599, and Chairman of the USW Northeastern Legislative and Education Committee, the annual dinner-dance has been held since the 1960’s and was renamed after Mr. O’Brien in 2000.

Ed O’Brien was twice the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives 15th Legislative District.

Mr. O’Brien first joined the United Steelworkers of America Union Local 2598 in 1964, and served in many positions within the union, both locally and with the International Union.

During his remarks, Mr. O’Brien stated both Illinois Senator Barack Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton, are friends of labor and would be better for the working people than Senator John McCain.

“Electing McCain would be like having a third Bush term. Our nation has suffered enough. What labor must do is support either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama in the fall. No matter who you supported in the primary, we must pull together and support the Democratic party nominee, and defeat McCain,” said Mr. O’Brien.

Sam Bennett, Democratic 15th Legislative District candidate told the group Republican incumbent Representative Charlie Dent can be defeated in November.

She said Mr. Dent’s voting record shows he supports President Bush’s anti-worker agenda.

“Charlie is a nice enough guy. But, he supports Bush’s opinion on labor. Everyone here knows what that means,” said Ms. Bennett.

Pennsylvania State Representative, 116th Legislative District, Todd Eachus was Honorary Speaker and also called for “unity” after the primary elections have concluded.

Mr. Green told the newspaper the Steelworkers Union political program was expanded for the 2008 campaign. He added the union conducted a voter registration drive that resulted in 200 members signing-up to vote.

Mr. Green stated the Legislative Dinner normally is held in October but, the union advanced the date for the event to better mobilize their members for the November election.

USW Local 2599 has around 1,600 active members throughout the Lehigh Valley, which includes 20 separate contract units.

Teen Works Board of Directors vote to support six youth projects in Lehigh Valley


May 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Teen Works Board of Directors vote to support six youth projects in Lehigh Valley


REGION, April 15th- On April 8th the Teen Works Board of Directors held a meeting at the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union Local 677 building on Mack Boulevard in Allentown. At the meeting, the organization voted to help fund six community projects being conducted by area teens or school groups from throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Unions from throughout the Lehigh Valley contribute funds that is donated to area teens that are involved with a project to help the region. The program is a agency of the Greater Lehigh Valley United Way. All funds donated by the labor organizations is used to support the Teen Works program.

School students ask the Teen Works Board of Directors for financial help to conduct a community project in the Lehigh Valley. Under the program teen(s) must first complete an application for the financial help.

Boy Scout Troop 12 member Phil Riola of Allentown received $700.00 from the organization to paint the walls and trim in three rooms at the City Limits Assembly of God Church in downtown Allentown.

Boy Scout Troop 29 member Andrew Semanick of Easton received $750.00 by the group for his project at the St. Andrew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Palmer Township. His project is to renovate the ladies and men’s bathrooms inside the church.

Boy Scout Troop 43 member Joseph Light of Bath received $530.00 to widened the existing brick patio behind the house of Governor Wolf Historical Society in Bath.

The current patio only covers half the width of the house. The new addition will cover the remaining part of the patio.

The fifth community project to receive funding from the organization was to landscape the area located near Jordan Creek Parkway in Lehigh County. Boy Scout Troop 8 member Greg Altrichter of Allentown received $850.00 to help fund his project.

His project is to set up a location for wedding pictures or just a place to walk. The project will also be handicap accessible so even people in wheel chairs would be able to visit.

Under the project, paths at the park will be widened; soil will be added to the flower beds; a arbor with fence will be installed at the front entrance; three park benches, one statue, a split rail fence above the bank will be added and roses will be planted.

Boy Scout Troop 6 member Chris Foss of Stewartsville, New Jersey received $600.00 of funding by Teen Works.

His project is to clean and refurbish a 24-car parking lot at the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Easton.

For the Good of the Party and America, an Obama-Clinton Democratic ticket


For the Good of the Party and America, an Obama-Clinton Democratic ticket

Hillary Clinton should end her bid for the White House. Obama should offer her the Vice Presidency. Clinton should accept the offer. It would be a bitter pill for both to swallow but it is what both the Democratic Party and the American nation desperately needs. Neither Clinton nor Obama should place their personal ambition, pride or emotions ahead of the needs of the American people.

Clinton won a big victory in Pennsylvania but the election was tainted by the highly negative campaign and by serious election equipment and logistical flaws. At this point, she could easily withdraw with honor. Clinton is certainly not responsible for the defective voting equipment or the thousands of Republicans who switched their registrations in Pennsylvania to Democratic but were denied their right to cast even provisional ballots.

Brad Friedman of Brad Blog predicted in advance on his website and in an interview broadcast on my Democratic Talk Radio show that the election process in Pennsylvania was going to be a disaster logistically. He told our listening audience in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (WGPA SUNNY 1100AM) and our Internet audience that after the problems arose that the type of voting machines used in Pennsylvania made it impossible to fix errors likely to arise. The voting machines used made it impossible to verify the count or audit the results. Pennsylvania election laws and processes tainted Clinton’s victory through no fault of her own.

This writer believes she won big in Pennsylvania but the voting process was so bad that many voters will always doubt the size of that victory.

Regardless of the Pennsylvania win, Clinton has almost zero chance of gaining the Democratic Presidential nomination without changing the nominating rules to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida selected in unfair primary elections. Even with those delegates counted, Clinton has very little chance of gaining the nomination. It would take a nearly complete sweep of the remaining election contests in places like North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, Puerto Rico, Guam and Idaho along with gaining most of the Super Delegates. Basically, it would take a whole series of miracles for her to gain the nomination and place her in a very weak position in terms of defeating McCain in the Fall.

Counting on a series of miracles to win a nomination that would split the Democratic Party in half is a pretty poor campaign strategy. Staying in the race would cast Clinton in a Democratic spoiler role in the minds of the American people should it result in a McCain victory in November. It would ruin her place in history.

A McCain victory would be an absolute disaster for the American nation. It would be basically a third term for Bush Republicanism and the insane policies that have wrecked the American economy. It would mean a foreign policy of endless, pointless, bloody wars. Make no mistake about it, John McCain is a war-monger who has no clue about how to run an economy.

McCain would pack our federal courts with the same kind of partisan, ideologically driven, Far Right judges that Bush appointed. Helping to elect McCain would gut the Bill of Rights and essentially destroy American Democracy. McCain would be both stubborn and inept in the White House just like Bush.

McCain is and always has been a tool of Corporate forces in politics- just like Bush. He and his wife are likely worth hundreds of millions of dollars although the so-called “straight talker” has refused to expose their full family finances. McCain is hiding his conflicts of interests and financially self-serving political position by hiding behind his wife! It is shameful and dishonest.

Electing McCain would mean millions more Americans would lose their homes, their savings and their jobs. It would mean the near collapse of the American dollar, the almost total destruction of America as a manufacturing nation and the end of our military dominance because of economic collapse. The destruction of our Constitutionally guaranteed personal freedoms started under Bush would become complete. It would be in a very real sense a third term for George W. Bush.

McCain was a war hero in Vietnam but since then he has been a disaster for working Americans. Read about McCain at McCain if you think I am over stating the case against a McCain Presidency. His record and policy positions are about 95 % the same as George W. Bush.

The American nation cannot afford a Bush Presidency. Clinton and Obama should make any sacrifice necessary to spare the American nation of this impending disaster. I am calling on their proven patriotism to work together as a Democratic ticket to defeat Bush Republicanism in the form of John McCain. Please save the American nation!
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Written by Stephen Crockett (host of Democratic Talk Radio and Editor of Mid-Atlantic Mail: 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702. Phone: 443-907-2367.

Feel free to publish or post without prior approval.

Philadelphia May Day event


May Day event
By John Oliver Mason
April 21, 2008

A movement is growing to recognize the American origins of May Day as a workers’ holiday. On May 1st, there will be a community celebration of May Day at Elmwood Park, 71st Street and Buist Avenue in South West Philadelphia.

In this event, students from the Tilden Middle School, located near the park, will come over and listen to the speakers and the music, provided by the rock and roll band Unskilled Labor. There will also be a monument to Organized Labor and its struggles inaugurated at the park; tables commemorating such famous Labor struggles and heroes as Eugene V. Debs, Karen Silkwood, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, will be placed in the park.

Leading the effort for May Day in Philadelphia is Jim Moran, a veteran labor activist who recently retired as Director of the Philadelphia Area Project for Occupational Safety and Health (PHILAPOSH). Before, Moran worked to develop an annual Labor Day parade and celebration in Philadelphia, saying, “I spent years working on Labor Day, and (the Labor day parade in Philadelphia) is about twenty years old.”

Of his work for May Day, Moran adds, “We’ve been robbed of our history. It goes back to 1886, with the AFL calling for a national strike for the eight-hour day.” The average working day at that time, says Moran, was up to fourteen and sixteen hours a day.

“In the Chicago area,” says Moran, “four men were shot to death on the picket line by the police. They went out on May 1, and on May 3, there were these killings on the picket line. On May 4, a rally was called at the Chicago Haymarket, and thousands came to the rally, and as it began to break up, two hundred police showed up…Someone, who remains unidentified, threw a bomb and a policeman was killed. The police opened fire, and shot a couple dozen people, killing many of them, (including) several policemen as well, caught in their own crossfire. In 1889, at an international Labor convention in Paris, the AFL had a delegate who urged them to adopt a proposal that May First be set aside as an international day to honor all workers, specifically the eight Haymarket Martyrs. After that so-called riot in the Haymarket, they rounded up a lot of Labor leaders, and eight were singled out and prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to be hanged. Four were hanged, one committed suicide to cheat the hangman, and the three that remained were later pardoned as were the whole eight by the governor of Illinois.

“Workers here have not been told” the true story of May Day, says Moran, “not through the history books. Most working people don’t realize that May Day originated in the United States, that it really is our day, and we should be a part of it, and we should join hands with workers all over the world and show international solidarity. We haven’t done that, and very few towns in the United States do anything on May Day, although there are several that do.

“A number of us (Philadelphia union activists) got together,” adds Moran, “and decided we should revive May Day. We’ve been working at this, meeting and organizing for the last two years,” Last year, adds Moran, the May Day activists joined with mushroom workers in Kenneth Square, Chester County, “ all of whom are Mexican,” he says. “They have demonstrations on May Day, because they’re used to that in their own country. Many countries outside of the United States have activities on May Day to honor (workers),. They do it in Kenneth Square, it’s done in Patterson, New Jersey, it’s done in Chicago, but there’s nothing done here (in Philadelphia).”